SILENCE = CONSENT

Posts tagged “man

What Was I Thinking?

20120917-105203.jpgWhat used to be one of my biggest fears is the discovery that I’m organically not what I hope I am. When I’d think of myself, I’d wonder if who I think I am is really antithetical to who I was created to be; that there’s a possibility I’m spending all my energy doing the wrong things. One day it came to me that my fear was actually rooted in what I thought people thought of me. What would my family and friends think if I ever expressed what I was really felt or was thinking? What would happen to my support system if I was ever authentically “Tuan?” In fact, what did being authentic mean for me at any point in time?

Being worried about the thoughts and opinions of others was the root of my spiritual paralysis. To break the stagnation, I had to do some hard work. I had to find what relationships, food, sex and alcohol couldn’t give me… knowledge of me. I needed to confront the pain relationships, food, sex and alcohol pacified. I had to start thinking about myself. I had to challenge and explore what I thought of me. After thirteen years in ministry, I had to break open my spirit and calculate what I had, who I was, where I was going, and what all that meant. It all started with my thoughts of me.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” opened my eyes to a great deal of things. It taught me that it really doesn’t matter what other people think of me. The important thing is what I think of myself. And whatever I thought of myself, IS who I am. So when I thought of myself as unloveable, unattractive or not good enough, I wasn’t. That thought pattern lead to me being depressed and self-destructive. Not only was I self-destructive, I was subconsciously destroying everything and everyone around me. I couldn’t see good in me, so I couldn’t see it in others. I was hypercritical, judgmental, catty and downright mean.

Eventually I had to ask myself, “Tuan, what are you thinking?” The only thing I thought was good about me was based on the opinions and thoughts of others, so in reality I wasn’t thinking.

To get a good view of who I am, I had to break down every wall that I thought was protecting me. I had to become open. I had to crack open all the things I had bottled up and look at them; deal with each and every issue, positive or negative. Only when I became open was I able to see my own potential. While I had a closed mind and spirit, I wasn’t able to get a true calculation of all the things that make me who I am; my talents, my insights, my background, my dreams, and so much more. I couldn’t even see the infinite possibilities. Confronting all my crazy helped me see not just what I have, but helped me realize what I want. I now understand what I want isn’t impossible. What I want for my life is what I deserve.

So, what are you thinking? What are WE thinking? Are we really seeing the big picture about who we are individually and collectively? Are we passionate enough, courageous enough to brea open that which keeps us isolated, take inventory and open ourselves up to what is possible? At this very moment, you are… we are the precise expression of what we think.

Tuan N’Gai is an activist and co-founder of Operation: REBIRTH. He is the author and publisher of “Will I Go To Heaven? The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma” and “Little Brown Boy’s Blues.” He is also a contributor to the New York Times Best Seller “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.” Tuan currently lives in Chicago, Illinois

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My Wife, My Whore, My Baby Mama

“He said he wants me to be his wife, his whore, and the mother of his children. Then he proposed to me.”  That is something a young lady said on her Facebook page.  She was happy.  Celebrating her new engagement.  But, like clockwork, a firestorm of negative comments rang out from empowered black women.  She was accused of having low self-esteem.  She was berated for letting a man talk to her like that.  How DARE she revel in male misogyny and set the black female struggle back 50 years!  Why did she think it was a compliment?  Why did so many people congratulate her like she had accomplished something great?  I mean, since when did “whore” become a compliment or an aspiration?  Right?

Though I understand the people who disagreed with his choice of words, I have to say I disagree with it.  This is a relationship between a man and HIS woman; a woman and HER man.  Who the HELL are outsiders to tell them what is and is not appropriate in their relationship?  Who died and made anyone else’s opinion relevant to their thing?  If this young lady wasn’t offended, because the word isn’t a negative one within the bonds of her engagement, I think everyone else should just get somewhere and SADDOWN!

I honestly think he was telling her, “Baby, all I need, I’ve found in you.  You are just ALL the woman I need.  For a home-cooked meal and clean house, I can come home to you.  For all the low-down, gutter-butt, freak nasty pornographic fantasies I want fulfilled in the bedroom that I can’t share with anyone else, I know you got me.  There is no other woman I want to bear my seed.  You are EVERY woman to me!”

I think the young man exercised maturity and had the balls to freely say what he loves about her in the most vulnerable and uncensored way.  What’s wrong with that?  If more people had the type of relationship where they were safe and free to say exactly what they felt, HOW they felt it without the threat or fear of judgement, we just may have a better society.  The world needs this type of honesty.  Furthermore, what’s wrong with having a wife (or partner) who is so sexually uninhibited they satisfy every little sexual fetish you have?  What’s wrong with that?

The way I see it, the women who were going in on this young lady were jealous.  They weren’t empowered women at all. They were bitter, insecure, hurt and angry women who probably are in need of a 15-minute toe curling, body-rocking orgasm their damn selves!  When you violently berate others because they don’t agree with your point of view, or don’t know the whole story, that’s not empowerment boo boo, you really need to get off your high horse and live a little.  Maybe if you weren’t so uptight, and were free enough to be someone’s personal whore, you might be getting wifed up to.


Who is Left to Love the Black Woman?

“All the good black men are either dead, married, gay, in jail or waiting to be born,” is something I heard a young lady say in a bible study once.  We were discussing the possibility of some of us in the class never getting married.  Before making this statement, she told the pastor he needed to come up with some programs so some of the women in the class could have the hope of getting married.  She then went on to give a dramatic speech called “Who Is Left to Love the Black Woman?”

I was very offended.  And the whole time she was giving her lil’ speech, I was lookin’ at Mz. Lady like she’d bumped her head.  After her speech, the pastor asked if any of the men in the class would like to respond.  So, you KNOW I raised my hand right?  And the pastor just shook his head, because he KNEW what was coming.

I stood up in front of the class, cleared my throat, and said, “I don’t think the problem here is ‘who’s left to love the black woman, but rather who is qualified!”  I also told Mz. Lady that she owed every man in the class an apology because ALL OF US in the class thought of ourselves as good men.

These days, what IS a good man?  Everyone has their own idea of what makes a man “good,” so it’s difficult to set a concrete definition.  When asked that question, most of the single men I know say they consider themselves good men.

So, if so many people (straight women and gay men) are looking for ‘good men’, why are so many presumed good men single?  Maybe the people who say they are looking for a good man, aren’t  really looking for a good man at all.  Most are seeking out “good-looking men” and are disappointed when they find that those who they think are good-looking often lack the characteristics they say they want in a man.  The truth is, most will totally overlook a man of character if he doesn’t personify what society says is beautiful or successful.  Even if the man is only trying to be a friend, he still faces rejection based on his looks.

My late Big Mama used to say, “baby, you don’t throw away a diamond because it’s given to you in a paper bag, and not a velvet box….a diamond is still a diamond no matter what it may be wrapped in.”  Big Mama knew that a good man couldn’t be measured or judged by what he has or how he looks.  A good man can only be judged by his character.  Now I’m not naïve to the fact that what we see gets our attention.  But it seems that what we see is the most important thing.  We value things that are temporal.  Good looks fade or can be destroyed.  Money and material things are fleeting and can be taken away.  But a strong and noble character is something that is invaluable and will stand the test of time.

So to all those women and men, who say they’re looking for a good man, remember that a good man (a diamond) is still a good man (a diamond) regardless of how he may be wrapped.  Think about it, that man of character that you’ve overlooked because you’re “just not attracted to him” may be the friend or partner you’ve been looking for all along.  Learn how to see people with more than just your eyes.  Maybe the problem is not a shortage of eligible candidates, but your inability to recognize a good man when you see him.

 

Tuan N’Gai is Co-Founder of the Operation: REBIRTH Movement.  He’s the author of “Will I Go To Heaven? The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma,” “Little Brown Boy’s Blues,” and a contributor to the New York Times Best Seller, “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.” He lives in Chicago, Illinois.


He Ain’t Man Enough for Me

Image“I just don’t know if I can be in a relationship with him,” is what my friend said as we talked about his PNB (that’s Potential New Boyfriend).  And when I asked him why, he went on to say, “he’s just too effeminate for me.  I need somebody who is gonna be a real man.”

After that conversation, I thought about how many times I’ve talked to people who were once excited about meeting a PNB either on the internet or by phone. But after they met him in person, the story drastically changed.  They were disappointed because the man who they thought could be the love of their life turned out to be “a big ol’ girl.”  The tone of their voices when they give the details of how he walked, talked, or was too animated with his conversation indicates how disgusted they are that they were duped again by someone who presented themselves as masculine on the net or on the phone but in reality was not as masculine as the image they projected.  It’s almost sad to think that people still believe the notion that masculine = top and feminine = bottom.  Don’t EVEN get me started on the numerous profiles on any group, club or chat where people insist that if you are gonna hit them up you “must be masculine” or “straight-acting”.

So what’s the deal with “effeminate men”?  And why do we have such hatred for them?  I mean, are they any less man or less real than anyone else?  Why are they undesirable? And why is it not a positive thing to meet a man who has wholly embraced his feminine side and is unashamed of it? Furthermore, why do so many effeminate men loathe effeminacy in other men?

I met a man from the United Kingdom a while back.  In our lengthy conversations, he taught me so much about how different people in Europe think versus how we think in America.  He told me, “T, it’s not uncommon for men in the UK to think of American men as brutish or barbaric.  And it’s strange that what you all call `effeminate’ we just consider it to be sophisticated unless it’s like over the top or something.”  He went on to say how most people in the UK have a live and let live attitude.  As long as people are respectful of each other, nobody really bothers anyone else.  His saying that made me to seek out other people from different parts of the world and ask them about what is considered masculine or effeminate in their cultures.  It amazed me how the definition of masculinity and femininity varies from place to place.

The truth of the matter (in my humble opinion) is masculinity and femininity are opposites on the same human spectrum.  And even though some of us can’t accept it, ALL OF US fall somewhere between the two and not necessarily on one polar extreme or the other.  We all come from a man and a woman, masculinity and femininity lives inside all of us.

Being a same gender loving man, I know that what we call masculinity can be sexy.  It’s attractive.  But I submit that often times the most “masculine” man is not necessarily a “real” man.  My father taught me that a real man loves God, himself, and others.  A real man takes care of his responsibilities.  He is respectful.  He’s trustworthy.  He honors his word. He has a kind heart and is faithful.  He’s strong enough to be gentle and sensitive.  He stands up and is willing to fight for what he believes in and is unashamed.  He’s unafraid to take the road less traveled and is able to be independent.

After thinking about it for a minute, I discovered that most of the men I know who possess the qualities my daddy taught me to have are not considered the most masculine.  The so-called masculine men are more often those who are so uncomfortable with who they are they’d rather lie or die than call themselves gay in public.  They will not boldly stand up and make their voices heard when it’s needed for fear of someone knowing that they are attracted to the same gender.  But who is often the first in line to stand in protest when injustice rears its ugly head?  Who is often unashamed of who they are and will not lie about their identity?  Who is often strong enough and unafraid to be who they are no matter what?  In my experience, those who we call effeminate are the ones who seem to possess the characteristics of “real men.”

Now, I’m not saying that traditionally masculine men can’t be real men.  Nor am I saying that who we call effeminate are all men of noble character.  The point I’m trying to make is it’s important that we not try to define each other with some binary either/or system. It does us all an injustice.  We need to learn how to accept and embrace each other.  Look at each other and judge each other by “the content of character” (thank you Dr. King).

And when it comes to relationships, just how do we know that the very man we’ve prayed and asked God for; the one who will love, respect, be faithful and honest with us isn’t a man who falls closer to the feminine side of the human spectrum than we think he should?  Why can’t we embrace each other in spite of the one of the many things that diversifies us?  When will we learn the importance of stretching out just a little bit and learning from people who are a little bit different from us?  We just might be surprised when we discover that we really aren’t all very different.  I mean, we ARE all brothers…right?

So, my bruthaz (masculine and effeminate): keep being who you are!  Don’t let anybody tell you that you are less than what you were created to be.  Let’s stop writing off bruthas as less than because they are a little different.  Learn from the diversity, don’t let it divide.  Embrace each other and celebrate our similarities.  Let’s continue to believe in our own greatness.  Let’s strive together to be the real men that this world is seems to need so desperately.

Tuan N’Gai is the co-founder of the Operation: REBIRTH Movement, the author of “Will I Go To Heaven?  The Black Gay Spiritual Dilemma”, “Little Brown Boy’s Blues”, and contributor to the New York Times Best Seller, “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living.”  He currently lives in Chicago, IL.


Racism, Free Speech and Black Apathy

Where is the outrage over the racist “tar baby” remark made by  Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)?  There has been no outcry whatsoever from “black leaders”.  I suppose I should count their silence as their consent.  It’s okay for someone in his position to use racial slurs in public, on the airwaves as long as they apologize and say they didn’t “intend” to be offensive.  What the hell did he intend by using a term like “tar-baby”?  How could something like that not be construed as racist?

When contacting the Congressional Black Caucus on the issue of their white colleague using racial slurs in the media when talking about associated with our African-American President, their reply was “what he said is protected under free speech and since no laws were broken, there is nothing we can do”. REALLY CBC?  REALLY!!!  Like this is a censorship issue.  It ain’t about censorship, it’s about what is SUPPOSED to be the right thing.  It’s about what the Civil Rights Movement was about, equality under the law and respect for all people.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand everyone having the right to say what they feel and speak their opinion.  At the age of 40 I realize that we are not at all living in a post-racial Amerikkka.  So my outrage isn’t with pecker-woods from Colorado who don’t like minorities or openly use racial slurs about black people.  My problem is with the silence and apathy of the leading blacks in this country who call themselves black leaders.  If one of them would have gotten on the radio or television and said “being involved with John Boehner in anything is like wallowing in a ditch with trailer trash honky redneck ofays” there would be some hell to pay.

How far will this go before the CBC, NAACP, NBJC or any other supposedly black social justice organization stands up and publically calls the blatant racism that is being broadcast over the airways and in newspapers and magazines UNACCEPTABLE?  If the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan even casually says the word “Jewish” in an interview, EVERY JEWISH SOCIAL JUSTICE ORGANIZATION IN AMERIKKKA WOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT IT!  At this rate, one of the elected racist crackaz in congress could refer to the President as a nigger and they wouldn’t say anything.  MY BAD!  I FORGOT.  The still unconfirmed gay agenda to take over the world by converting little children is more of a threat to this country than unhooded klansmen who have the power to legislate discrimination.

Let me just issue a warning.  When we start letting “little things” like racial slurs being hurled over the public airwaves fly, sooner or later we will be back in the era of Jim Crow. Remember, a little leaven ruins the whole loaf.   The Republikkkan party has already started trying to do things to suppress the votes of those who have a history of voting democrat.  What’s next, White and Colored Only bathrooms?  If we don’t wake up, we are headed in that direction. Didn’t we learn anything from the Civil Rights Movement?  Aren’t we teaching our children remember and respect the legacy of our ancestors?  If not, we are DOOMED TO REPEAT IT!

Oh yeah, “the terms cracka, peckerwood, trailer trash, honky, redneck and ofay are IN NO WISE intended to be offensive.  And if anyone IS offended by their use I am deeply sorry.”  That makes my using them okay… right?


KILL THE TERRORISTS

While I understand the significance of Osama Bin Laden’s death to our Commander in Chief, our Courageous Soldiers, to our Country and the “supposed” War on Terror, I’m remembering that pride comes before a fall.

Something about celebrating another human being’s death just doesn’t seem right to me spiritually. I understand that he did horrible things, and he committed horrible crimes against nature, but in the big scheme of things, he was still human. He was a man, who like most of us, are products of our upbringing and our environments. Osama Bin Laden’s death is justice served for all the evil he’s done in the world, in my humble opinion. Yet somehow I am not celebrating.

I think we should now focus our attention on killing the REAL domestic and international terrorists…

ARROGANCE
RACISM
POVERTY
GREED
INEQUALITY
HOMOPHOBIA
MISOGYNY
ILLITERACY
ABUSE
VIOLENCE…

and I’m sure the list could go on and on. The REAL terrorists aren’t other people, but rather enemies we feel. The destruction they leave in their wake is far more damaging than anything a conscious human being could cause.

So, I’m proud of MY PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA. I applaud my brothers and sisters in uniform who sacrifice to protect our freedom. I pray for all the victims of 9/11, I wish you healing and closure. To Osama Bin Laden, Karma is a BITCH! And to MY COUNTRY… let’s not miss this opportunity to KILL the REAL terrorists. If we miss this opportunity, the war on terror will never end.


Childish Things

When I was a child I spoke as a child, understood as a child, I thought as a child.  But when I became a man, I put away childish things.  Sometimes I wonder if putting away those things was the wisest thing to do, realizing now as a man, that the foundation on which I stand was laid for me when I was a child.  Sometimes I think if maybe I put away the wrong things, because as I grew, the adult things I now hold on to like excess baggage only make me wish for the childish things that I hid in the name of growing up.  If I only knew now, what I knew then, things would be much different.

When I was a child I spoke as a child.  I spoke from my heart.  I said what was on my mind.  The words that came out of my mouth were honest, because I was taught to always tell the truth.  I was encouraged to always ask questions, especially if there was something I didn’t understand.  But when the questions got too hard for grown folks to answer, or they thought the answer was something a child couldn’t handle, I was in trouble for having a smart mouth.  So I learned how to keep it shut.   And from fear of getting in trouble, I learned how to lie.  Speaking the truth and pursuing questions was a childish thing that when I became a man, I put it away.

When I was a child I understood as a child.  I understood from an early age that when I went to school I was different.  I enjoyed being different.  While other kids had long stringy hair, my lil afro was tight.  The skin given to me by Divinity was just as beautiful. I understood that I was just as intelligent and talented as everyone else. I understood that I was genuine and unique, and my uniqueness made me special.  I was proud and unashamed.  I also understood all too well why other little boys didn’t want to play with me.  I understood that being called a sissy wasn’t a good thing, so maybe my being so unique was God’s mistake.  So I put away all that pride, and learned how to hide myself.  I learned how to be what people wanted so they could be comfortable around me.  I understood very young that if I was to survive, my uniqueness had to be a secret.  Being proud of who I naturally am was a childish thing.  When I became a man I put it away.

When I was a child I thought as a I child.  I thought I could change the world.  Whether by non-violence like Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King or Ghandi.  Or like Malcolm X,  by any means necessary.    I thought I could make a difference.  I could be the First Black President, but Barak Obama beat me to it.  “Happily ever after” was mine I believed.  I don’t know when I stopped believing that.  Somewhere along the way I did, but after hard times, disappointments, and having my heart broken repeatedly, I learned that putting away this childish thing could be the death of me.   I couldn’t think what everyone else thought of me.  I’d have to guard my thoughts like I’m guarding my most valuable possessions, because my thoughts keep hope alive in me.  My thoughts make me who i’m supposed to be.  As a man thinks, so is he.

I shouldn’t have put away dreaming big dreams.  Now I fight to hold on to thinking good things.  I now know that love of God, self and others is something I should constantly build on instead of putting it away.

Now that I’m a man, I speak as a man.  I understand as a man.  I think as a man. The childish things were not to be put away, because they are the foundation on which my life I was meant to build.  Those childish things are what make me the strong man that I am.